Ross O'Sullivan: I hope to give Baie Des Iles a confidence boost
The Betway ambassador previews his weekend runners at Naas and Punchestown, and explains why he's ignored the Grand National Trial for his stable star.
The equine flu situation in England is obviously worrying, but I do think they got on to it very early.
If it takes a bit of patience, for even the next 10 days if it came to it, it’s the best thing to do to make sure it all gets sorted well before Cheltenham.
We’ve had a mild winter with very little frosts or cold weather to get rid of the bugs. It’s been the same for the farmers with their cattle.
Let’s hope they can get it sorted as soon as possible.
Naas on Saturday
We run two in the opening novice hurdle (12:40).
We were a little bit disappointed with An Fraoch Mor the last day. I couldn’t see him finishing out of the first three or four but he was seventh.
We couldn’t find anything wrong with him afterwards.
This will be his first start over hurdles, and he’s done a lot of schooling. He’ll be a lovely horse in the future when he goes over fences.
Paul Townend rides. We’re hoping for a nice run and looking forward to getting him started over hurdles.
City Island is going to be very hard to beat. He beat Dallas Des Pictons on St Stephen’s Day at Leopardstown and that one has come out and won two since, so the form is very strong.
Our other runner is Cadougarde . He’s quite headstrong and wears a hood on Saturday. He needs to learn to relax and settle a bit.
He might need another run or two until he really gets the hang of it. He’ll be ridden patiently and we’ll try to get him to switch off.
I do think he’s a horse that will win a couple of races in the summer.
We were contemplating what the best option was for Baie Des Iles and we’ve decided to run her in the Listed mares’ chase (14:10) rather than the Grand National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday.
The main reason is the small field. There are only seven runners and she might just get into a nice rhythm.
She got bumped and hustled at Chepstow, and we hope this will be a nice confidence boost for her. There’s good prize money and Black Type up for grabs.
The trip isn’t ideal, but she won over two miles as a younger horse and we felt it was worth a try. There’s more rain forecast on Friday night and that would help her.
Ruby Walsh rides. He’s ridden her a couple of times before, including a second in the National Trial in 2016.
We’ll see how she gets on in this before making a plan.
Punchestown on Sunday
Little Princess runs in the 3m handicap hurdle (15:20). She’s a very frustrating filly, her work at home is much better than she’s shown on the racecourse.
She certainly works better than a 90-rated filly.
We’re going to ride her totally different on Sunday. We’ll drop her in and see if that helps.
Frustrating with D'bru Na Boinne
It was disappointing with D'bru Na Boinne at Thurles on Thursday. Who knows what would have happened had he not unseated his jockey, but I’m sure he would have been at least second.
Paul Townend was raging afterwards but there was nothing he could do. The horse ran a nice race, he’s been very good all season.
Decent ground is the key to him so if it stays good we’ll go again. If not, we’ll give him a break and come back in the spring.
Some fantastic finishes at the Dublin Racing Festival
Apple’s Jade was spectacular in the Irish Champion Hurdle, so the English one is going to be very interesting.
From a personal perspective, I loved the tight finishes between Bellshill and Road To Respect in the Irish Gold Cup, and Klassical Dream and Aramon in the Grade 1 novice hurdle.
Obviously it was great that Ruby came out on top, but exciting finishes like that really make the day for the racegoers.
The Dublin Racing Festival is a great idea, but it was just unfortunate about the ground.
La Bague Au Roi proved that the British horses can come over and win, so let’s hope more come over in the future. The prize money is so good.
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